William Eagleson Gordon was the older brother of Major Gordon and the first child of Dr William Gordon and Emily Dick. Willem was born on 4 May 1866 in Haymount's house at Bridge of Allan, Scotland.
After William's father unexpectedly died in January 1873 at 42, his mother, Emelia “Emily” Mackenzie Gordon, moved the family for a year to Lausanne, Switzerland, between 1879 and 1880. Here Colonel and Major Gordon met with the famous Major General Charles George Gordon CB and his brother Major General Sir Henry William Gordon. William's fellow students in Lausanne were Sir Henry W. Gordon's sons, Albert Edward Gordon and Robert Franklin Gordon. “Chinese Gordon,” thought the Sunday’s class for several weeks, met with the children on Lake Geneva and later returned to England.
Although both families share the same surname, they are not relatives. After the Gordon family of Colonel Gordon returned to England, he and Major Gordon finished high school and were later sent to London to complete their studies. Afterwards, Colonel and Major Gordon went their way in life.
William failed the entry exam at Sandhurst and, as a result, joined a Scottish Militia. Afterwards, he has commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders regiment and was sent to Malta and Ceylon. From there, he had the most gallantry career serving in the Chitral and Nothern Frontier campaigns and the Second Boer War in which he became dangerously wounded during the Battle of Magersfontein and later earned the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Battle of Dwarsvalei on 11 July 1900. He received the award from the late Field Marshal Earl Horatio Herbert Kitchener KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC on June 2, 1902, in Pretoria. After his return to England, he became a member of the Naval and Military Club (The In & Out) in 1903, in which he joined his good friend and fellow officer, the late Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse, VC, KCVO, CBE who already was a member since 1896. Colonel Gordon accompanied his brother Major Gordon to the Queen Victoria School opening ceremony at Dunblane on September 28, 1908, where King Edward VII presented the MVO to Major Gordon for his involvement in funding the school.
Neville Constantine Collection
Note by Major A. A. Gordon cites:
South African War. 1899-1901.
Presentation Tobacco Box. The one given to Captain W.E. Gordon, V.C., 1/. Gordons, and sent to me by him full of Kruger gold, silver & copper money, by the hands of Captain J.H.C. Ogilvy, The Canadian Regiment. [signed] A.A. Gordon, 19.7.1901".
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Colonel Gordon became an ADC to the King in 1913 and was given the rank of Brevet-Colonel the same year. During the year, he received his son Colin Mackenzie Blair Gordon with his Irish wife Margaret Katherine Blair, whom he married in 1910. Ironically, his brother Major Gordon also married a girl from Ulster, Lizzie Maude Smith, twin-daughter of the late Major General Edmund Davidson Smith and Mary Mathilda Cooke-Collis from castle Cooke in Cork, Ireland. Lizzie’s brother was the late Rear-Admiral Edmund Hyde-Smith.
FIRST WORLD WAR
Colonel Gordon entered the First World War in August 1914, was forced by his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Hugh Neish, to surrender, and was later imprisoned at Fort Zinna. During his imprisonment at the officer’s camp, Major Charles Allix Lavington of the 2nd Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry took his own life after multiple escape attempts, posthumously earning him the Victoria Cross. In January 1916, Colonel Gordon was exchanged with the German Aristocrat Prince Salm Salm, returned in lousy health to England and received his daughter Valerie Gloria Jean Blair Gordon the year after. After the war, he sued his former commander (Lt. Col. Neish) in a libel case after a slander article and afterwards had to defend himself during a Court of Enquiry. In 1933, he lost his son Colin M. B. Gordon, who has commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in his father’s regiment (Gordon Highlanders), during a racecar event at Donington Park.
On November 4, 1940, around 7.40 p.m., a German Aeroplane bombed Piccadilly Square. A bomb fell on 42 Half Moon Street and another on 94 Piccadilly. One bomb destroyed the lady's sitting room on the upper west wing together with a Drawing room and penetrated the front hall of the Club, while the other wasted the top two floors where the residential chambers were located. Fifteen-Year-Old pageboy John Williamson and the young Peter Brabbs, accompanied by two other men on duty, rushed themselves from the cellar to the street. They found the two club members, Colonel W.E. Gordon and Major F. G. Crozier of the Royal Engineers, trapped in ruins. Hours later, both men were freed from underneath and rushed to a hospital. Colonel Gordon suffered from shock and superficial injuries. Shortly after he arrived in the hospital, Major Grozier succumbed to his wounds. Colonel Gordon remained in the hospital until he succumbed to his wounds on March 10, 1941.
He is buried in St Albans Churchyard, Hindhead, Surrey.
GORDON FAMILY TREE
Peter of Ballee William of Ballyskeagh 1697 - ?
Mary Boak Mary Ross
Aaron Gordon William Gordon (1738 - 1831) Margaret Gordon Mary Gordon
Margaret Boak (1744 - 14/11/1837)
Elizabeth(... - 1839) Aaron(1781 - 8/10/1844) Robert of Stragollen (1774- 7/9/1850) William(..- ./1/1837) Mary
Ellen Eagleson (1786 - 21/09/1860)
George (22/6/1824 - 4/6/1896) William(15/5/1812 - 25/2/1814) Aaron (17/5/1814 - 1860) Matilda An (1/11/1817 - 1863) William E. (4/6/1831-15/1/1873) Elizabeth Robert (4/6/1823 - 23/7/1823) Margaret (5/5/1810 - 1816) Ellen (1827 - 1899) Robert (1830 - 1883)
X (1)Marion Hay Forbes
Robert (1855-1918) X (2) Emelia M. Dick
Marion Elizabeth Versfeld